2012 NBA Standings: Western Conference Playoff Race Is Really Tight

The 2012 NBA Playoffs are rapidly approaching, and the Denver Nuggets find themselves in a heated battle with the Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns for the final four spots in the Western Conference bracket. Everything is up in the air in the bottom part of the bracket, as the Nuggets are currently in a three-way tie with the Mavs and Rockets for the No. 6 slot, and underdeveloped tiebreakers put Denver at No. 8 right now, but the Suns and Jazz are desperately trying to get in the tournament.

Here is a look at the Western Conference playoff standings heading into Thursday's slate of games:

WESTERN W L PCT GB CONF
1 y - Oklahoma City Thunder 42 16 0.724 - 29-11
2 x - San Antonio Spurs 40 16 0.714 1 26-13
3 LA Lakers 37 22 0.627 5.5 28-13
4 LA Clippers 35 23 0.603 7 24-18
5 Memphis Grizzlies 34 23 0.596 7.5 22-20
6 Dallas Mavericks 32 26 0.552 10 22-20
7 Houston Rockets 32 26 0.552 10 21-20
8 Denver Nuggets 32 26 0.552 10 17-24
Utah Jazz 31 28 0.525 11.5 21-21
Phoenix Suns 30 28 0.517 12 20-20

Here is a rundown of the relevant tie-breaker rules (via NBA.com):

a. Two Teams Tied

b. More Than Two Teams Tied

(1) Better winning percentage in games against each other.

(1) Better winning percentage in all games among the tied teams.

(2) Better winning percentage against teams in own conference.

(2) Better winning percentage against teams in own conference.

(3) Better winning percentage against teams eligible for playoffs in own conference (including teams that finished the regular season tied for a playoff position).

(3) Better winning percentage against teams eligible for playoffs in own conference (including teams that finished the regular season tied for a playoff position).

(4) Better winning percentage against teams eligible for playoffs in opposite conference (including teams that finished the regular season tied for a playoff position).

(4) Better net result of total points scored less total points allowed against all opponents ("point differential").

(5) Better net result of total points scored less total points allowed against all opponents ("point differential").

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Denver. For more in-depth coverage, head over to Nuggets blog Denver Stiffs. And for updates from around the league, check out SB Nation's NBA news hub.

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